Grateful, indeed, for the Ginn Mill's Grateful Dead

When I was a teenager looking for trouble, my friends and I would head down to Larimer Square, then the only thing happening at night downtown, and sometimes even venture past the 1400 block of Larimer Street. A naïve suburbanite still in braces, I was always shaken at how quickly Larimer changed from tourists to tramps. Beyond 18th Street, the only people we'd see on the street were clutching brown paper bags and lacking in personal hygiene; I'd occasionally read about knife fights near El Chapultepec, the only landmark in this neighborhood that ever made the papers. So today, when I see the breadth and depth of the great bars up and down Larimer, I'm amazed at how much this area has changed. But then, when I think of the real history of Denver, I realize we're really just getting back to our roots. At the end of the nineteenth century, the 2000 block of Larimer Street was probably much closer to how it looks today than how I remember it in the '80s. In fact, the owners of the Ginn Mill say they set out to resurrect one of the town's famous "gin mills" of the late 1800s when they opened this joint last year. With a tin ceiling, spacious back patio and huge mural harkening back to yesteryear, this is a seriously great bar with none of the pretentiousness of some Larimer Square spots. Eli, our self-effacing bartender from the northern suburbs, was wearing a hilariously ironic "gangster-ish" T-shirt. He suggested we try a variation on a Long Island Ice Tea called a Grateful Dead ($6) made with well gin, vodka, rum, triple sec, raspberry schnapps, sweet and sour and a splash of lemonade. Too bad when I was growing up and looking for trouble, this cocktail wasn't around. A trip to the Ginn Mill could have saved me a lot of time — and the six blocks to Larimer Square.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Nancy Levine
Contact: Nancy Levine